SIXTY PERCENT OF UK POPULATION IS OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE – SMALL CHANGES CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

SIXTY PERCENT OF UK POPULATION IS OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE – SMALL CHANGES CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Sixty per cent of the population in the UK are now overweight or obese. It is not rocket science but experiments have shown that if people are overweight it is because energy in to the body has exceeded energy expended. The main issue is the unbalanced situation between our metabolism which has evolved to deal with an ancient lifestyle and our modern way of life. Our bodies are designed to function healthily in a situation where food is scarce and the energy required to obtain it is high. However, we now expend relatively little energy and food is plentiful, fast energy releasing and rich in calories. This sets up a situation where only the most active and strong-willed person finds it easy to maintain a healthy weight. Excess fat is not just about how you look and feel but it increases the risk of diseases that are less visible such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer, joint problems and psychological issues. Susan Jebb from Oxford University has done research that has shown that even a modest amount of weight loss (3-4kg) is helpful and 4kg can halve your risk of developing Type II diabetes. So to succeed in weight management it can be quite hard to take on and stick to radical changes in your diet. you are much more likely to succeed if you take conscious control of many small changes which altogether amount to a significant number of calories. This is where food diaries can play a really useful role because they don’t let you get away with lots of little items of consumption which will add up...
HOW TO EAT BETTER WHEN STRESSED

HOW TO EAT BETTER WHEN STRESSED

April is stress awareness month in the US. So we thought that it was a good time to talk about the effects and management of stress over here, especially as it is exam season and even if you are not doing exams yourself, you may be supporting other people through them. Although we are the most evolved creatures on the planet, we still react to stress as if we were cave-people. When something happens that we see as a threat, changes are triggered in our bodies on many different levels: hormonal, neurochemical and electrochemical. This enables your body to respond by either fighting or fleeing the perceived threat. These changes cascade into other physiological effects – increased heart rate and blood pressure, increases in breathing and muscle tension; digestive, immune and reproductive functions are slowed down since digesting food, fighting infection and sex are not a priority for your imminent survival. Now this is fine for a short time, if the threat is real and imminent, but periods of sustained stress are bad for us, causing a multitude of physical and mental health problems, along with unhelpful behaviours, relationship problems and reduction in focus and productivity decline. So what can you do to help manage stress? Well you may not be able to get rid of your mortgage or easily change your boss, so it is more about equipping your body to be more resilient to stress and not adding to the stress that your body is under. Although we tend to take less care of ourselves when we are stressed it is precisely the time when we need to...